God vs. Gay
BY Lisa Larges
March 25 2009 12:00 AM ET
There are plenty of
reasons why we stay, many of which are hard to describe in
words. It can be a spiritual awakening that finds resonance in
the Christian story, or an unyielding belief in what the church
can, should, and perhaps will be. It can be that our hearts are
so deeply connected to the people we share our faith with and
we cannot leave that home. We all have our personal reasons and
they are all valid.
But more important, I
can tell you why it matters for the broader LGBTQ community --
the churched, the un-churched, and anti-church, as well as
believers in other religious traditions -- to care about
fighting faith-based discrimination in mainline Christian
churches. As someone who has been a part of the grassroots
struggle to fight discrimination for over 20 years in the
Presbyterian Church, I have a few opinions in this regard.
First, there's the
obvious. The Christian extremist right, which has increased its
influence in mainline churches, must be countered. Many of the
Christian denominations have a history of being moderate on
many things and progressive on others. In the last three
decades that moderate Christian voice has been drowned out,
silenced, or taken over. The influence of the Christian right
must be countered directly and from the inside. While the
Christian right is regrouping, reviewing the payout of its last
homophobic spending binge, and wearing that
deer-in-the-headlights look, now is the time.
Last week, I sat all
day observing the proceedings in a Presbyterian Church trial on
whether I could be moved forward in the ordination process as
an out lesbian. The decision that came down yesterday was a
mixed bag (read the details at
), but the reality is that I am looking at a longer struggle
that includes advocating for a change in church policy to
include LGBT people, not just ongoing individual fights where
candidates for ordination struggle in a system that blocks them
at every turn.
Once again I saw little
of the Jesus or church I know in the proceedings. No out queer
voices were heard at that trial, including mine. Opponents of
LGBT equality in the church are rightfully wary of the personal
testimonies of queer people of faith, and likewise wary of
conversation, dialogue, and any live-and-let-live
But here's the thing.
God still shows up at these things. (You might be thinking that
it was just caffeine, some other hormonal imbalance, or a
perverse quirk, but let's just call it God for the moment.) It
was a God that was patient but frustrated, loving but forceful,
and alternately laughing and crying over what some followers do
in God's name. There was a magnificent gaggle of young queers
who turned out to observe the trial. Some of them were asked to
leave on account of illegal twittering. So there they were,
full of love, vibrancy, strength, and faith. I say that's the
church. So sue me.
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